Product AM Expo 2021

Redesign, additive manufacturing and validation

Redesign, additive manufacturing and validation of a space-compatible slipring rotor. Adding new, built-in electrical functions increases end products’ added value.

Integrated electrical power and signal routing by printing electrical wires inside structural metallic parts, CSEM’s patented and proven technology opens the door wide to the design of parts featuring advanced, built-in functions.

The rotor of a cylindrical Slipring Assembly (SRA) has been re-designed based on a combination of Additive Manufacturing (AM), resin casting and machining in partnership with RUAG Slip Ring SA. Whilst fulfilling all requirements derived from the existing SRA rotor design, the new design reduces the number of parts involved from 60 to 1 (considering a 30 channel rotor). 

A trade-off on the AM technologies and materials based on several breadboard models (BBMs) allowed to confirm Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) fusion and bronze as the most suitable process and material. The BBMs and their functional testing results were used to iterate on the design which led to the manufacturing and functional testing of a set of rotor Qualification Models. They are currently integrated with conventional SRA stators and will follow the functional, performance, and environmental tests required to reach the TRL7. A set of “conventional” SRAs will be tested in parallel and the test results will be benchmarked to confirm the potential of this new rotor generation to supersede the current one.

The AM of several breadboard series allowed to progressively consolidate the design, whilst complying with requirements. 

At this point of the development, the new lead time for the rotor is estimated at 4 to 6 weeks instead of 3 to 4 months and the reduction of the manufacturing costs shall be close to 40 %. Additional time and cost savings are expected with the automation of the rotor design updates. Indeed, the AM rotor is a one-piece design which makes it rather straightforward to implement design macros based on parametrized features (diameter, height, number of tracks, etc….). Once done, the rotor would no longer be declined in a catalogue of fixed sizes: any size of rotor within a given range would be achieved with marginal redesign costs.

CSEM is your partner to similarly redesign your own product to benefit at most of additive manufacturing technology.